If the Los Angeles Dodgers didn’t have enough on their hands with the sometimes troubling behavior of Cuban defector Yasial Puig, more problems broke out with their top farm-club, Albuquerque. Alex Guerrero another Cuban defector the Dodgers signed this past off-season for $28 million is having plastic surgery after a teammate, Miguel Olivio allegedly bit part of one of Guerrero’s ears off.
Olivio, a catcher was apparently upset that Guerrero wasn’t able to tag out a Salt Lake runner after he had made a throw he thought should have gotten him. The two exchanged words on the mound during a pitching change in the 7th inning then things heated up at the when they got back to the dugout at the end of the half-inning. Information about Guerrero’s injury came from his agent, Scott Boras. Word is Guerrero could miss up to six weeks because of the injury.
Los Angeles Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti has said the Dodgers aren’t happy.
Yasial Puig was named co-player of the week for the National League. Last season Puig tore up the Cactus League during spring training and many thought he would make the major league roster coming out of the spring but the Dodgers sent him back down to their AA team to start the season. Despite his outstanding play on the field it was his attitude that kept him down on the farm with the Dodgers hoping they could help him to mature before bringing him up. Then early in the season, with Puig getting off to a great start in the minors, Dodgers center-fielder Jeff Kemp went down with an injury and it was thought Puig was certain to get the call to join the Dodgers. But the talk was Puig still hadn’t shown signs of maturing and the Dodgers’ front office didn’t want him to think he was being rewarded for bad behavior.
Another injury and Puig did get the call to The Show and he was a major piece of the Dodgers ‘ amazing turn around which saw them winning their division. But problems persisted with Puig’s immature behavior both on and off the field the rest of the season and through the off-season as he has done and said things that have upset not just opposing player but his own teammates as well.
Suspensions are likely. Olivio at 35 doesn’t have youth as an excuse for his going Mike Tyson on his teammate and we will have to wait for all the details to see where the blame will fall.
Years ago former Dodgers manger Tommy Lasorda was talking about another Dodgers head-case, outfielder Raul Mondesi and made a comment that would have probably gotten him in hot water it he said it today. Talking of Latin players Lasorda said you needed to remember that they tend to mature at a slower rate than others and you need to give them time. Fortunately those times were not as politically correct as they are now so Lasorda’s opinion was allowed to stand. Question is, was he right? Could it be that players from Cuba and Dominican Republic take longer to mature?
Of course this is the same Tommy Lasorda who was blamed for the last game the Dodgers had to forfeit. In a game at Dodger Stadium in August of 1995 against the Cardinals, the umpires forfeited the game when fans continued to throw souvenir baseballs onto the field. Umpire Bob Davidson put the blame squarely on the Dodgers manager saying, “He instigated the crowd, waving his arms. He has himself to blame, absolutely. He knows he’s to blame.” Of course Tommy didn’t see it that way at all, “How did I instigate it? I was talking to (umpire) Jim Quick All I was asking is why he threw my players out.” Lasorda said, “We didn’t throw the balls. Who made them throw the balls the first time? What the hell did I do.”
You had to be around to truly be able to appreciate how Lasorda led his Dodgers teams.
Speaking of non PC comments, manager Dusty Baker once commented on needing to hold some white players out during the dog-day’s of August because they just weren’t able to handle the heat. Anything wrong with that comment? I would argue no. Was he right? Again I have no idea but having played, coached and managed for over 30 years at the time he was making an observation of what he had experienced and his views are as legitimate as any until proven wrong.